Yes, signs and symptoms of swine flu are quite similar to that of the regular flu. So it’s quite possible that if you have a cough, sore throat, high-grade fever (>102), fatigue, headache, muscle ache lasting for a week, it can be Swine flu. However, people with weakened immune systems and children may be contagious for a longer period of time (for example, about 10 to 14 days). Sometimes it is accompanied by diarrhea, vomiting, and rash. You may even develop respiratory symptoms such as shortness of breath. Severe persisting viral infection may lead to death with pneumonia or seizures as a secondary cause for death.
What causes Swine flu?
Swine flu is a respiratory disease caused by influenza virus in pigs. The disease is spread among pigs by direct and indirect contact, aerosols, and from pigs that are infected but do not have symptoms.
Most commonly, swine flu is of the H1N1 influenza subtype.
Humans get infected with swine flu when they come in contact with an infected pig. Transmission of infection is also possible when you come in close contact with an infected human.
What are the risk factors for swine flu?
People aged over 65 years, children under 5 years, people with chronic diseases, pregnant women, teenagers receiving long-term aspirin therapy and anyone with a compromised immune system is at higher risk of catching the infection.
Swine Flu can be treated
A vaccine against the H1N1 strain of swine flu has been introduced.
Flu shots, nasal sprays are of great help to subside the symptoms of the flu. The most used antiviral drugs are zanamivir (Relenza) and oseltamivir (Tamiflu), both of which are also used to prevent or reduce influenza A and B symptoms.
Is the prevention possible?
Yes of course. Refrain from contacting the infected person directly. Avoid shaking hands. Covering the mouth while coughing or sneezing is recommended for the infected person.